Rick Schultz – AP/from espn.com

Warning: this is not a timely post.

On October 27 of last year, Rutgers’ football team took the field against West Virginia in all-black uniforms, as seen above. They had never done this before, and there was consternation among fans over the decision. What followed was a fairly miserable afternoon. The persistent (for the first half) rain and noon start combined to create an atmosphere devoid of the electricity present for the previous game against South Florida. Rutgers trailed 17-3 at the half and blew their last chance to get back in the game during the third quarter, with a holding call stalling a promising drive that ended in a missed field goal. The final score was 31-3, and the black uniforms might never be seen again.

The funny thing is, I find myself sort of liking them. The red-on-white uniforms are better, but the all-black certainly could have been worse. The thing is, I also know the black look could have been better. How do I know? Because it’s already been done as well as it can be.


Streeter Lecka – Getty Images/from si.com

Georgia broke out black jerseys twice this past season – against Auburn (above), and against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. And they were simply sensational. One factor helping them out was the fact that they were 2-0 in the black jerseys, outscoring opponents 86-30 in the process (the Sugar Bowl was a comical mismatch). However, the uniforms themselves also hold an edge over RU and all the other teams to trot out the alternate black uniform look over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this.

First of all, the lighter pants work better. More contrast, I suppose. Second, the white numbers also work better. The red lettering/numbering on the black with the white outlines just made the RU jerseys look too busy. The white numbers with red trim just look incredibly sharp and sleek. The other deal breaker is the red trim around the neck and sleeves. I wish Rutgers’ jerseys had this; I think it’s what really pushes the Georgia jerseys over the top. It’s especially a shame because, as Georgia’s outfits show, the red helmet is the perfect complement to the black jersey, suggesting RU could have been on the verge of uniform greatness with a few more tweaks. Kudos to the Bulldogs; they hit upon the exact right combination to make the black jerseys work perfectly. It also doesn’t hurt that the black unforms, white numbers, and red trim form the perfect inverse of their normal road jersey. Rutgers’ normal road uniforms feature red numbers, so the normal red home uniforms are the logical choice.

Even though the black uniform probably worked better (aesthetically) than I thought it would for RU, they are clearly outclassed by Georgia in alternate jerseydom. How to explain Georgia’s superiority? Well, to me it’s simple – it’s the SEC.

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